Course detail

Programming Apple Devices

FIT-IZAAcad. year: 2020/2021

Apple's software is a comprehensive system of traditional libraries, application paradigms and a wide range of skills. Its long-term fundamentals remain stable in the last decades. The course will analyse major architectural elements of Apple application software, discuss thoroughly the meaning and application of its components and compare them with alternatives in other systems. The opening lectures will present Objective-C and Swift languages and their context among modern and historical programming languages. Then we will further establish the concept of application architecture based on the paradigms of Model-View-Controller and Key-Value Observing, demonstrated primarily on the iOS platform. The core of the lectures will include chapters on the design of multithreaded applications (GCD) and their connecting to internal (sqlite3, CoreData) and external database systems (CloudKit, DropBox). The final lecture will discuss the specifics of desktop applications (MacOS) and consumer electronics (TVOS, watchOS). The course also brings a set of practical seminars of programming in Swift.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

Understanding the principles of programming applications for macOS, iOS, tvOS and watchOS. Concepts of multi-threaded applications. Programming in Swift. Integrating DB engines to the MVC concept of applications.
Students will learn the concept of Swift programming language and its system libraries. They might employ these concepts in their jobs.


Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

Hillegass, A.: Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X. Addison-Wesley, 2004.
Trent, M., McCormack, D.: Mac OS X Programming. Wiley Publishing, 2005.
Neuburg, M.: Programming iOS 9: Dive Deep into Views, View Controllers, and Frameworks. O'Reilly Media, 2015.
Mathias, M., Gallagher, J.: Swift Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (2nd Edition). Big Nerd Ranch Guides, 2016.
Mathias, M., Gallagher, J.: Swift Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide (2nd Edition). Big Nerd Ranch Guides, 2016.
Zarra, M. S.: Core Data: Data Storage and Management for iOS, OS X, and iCloud. Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2013.
Zarra, M. S.: Core Data: Data Storage and Management for iOS, OS X, and iCloud. Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2013.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Not applicable.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

At least 15 points (out of 30) received from the project.

Language of instruction

Czech, English

Work placements

Not applicable.


The course is focused to give a very deep insight to concepts of programming of Apple devices, i. e. personal computers with MacOS operating system and mobile devices (phones, tablets, watches) based on iOS. Moreover, the course studies the architecture of software libraries and programming concepts which could be an inspiration in overall programming practice, no matter what platform, operating system or language is employed. Finally, the course teaches programming in Swift language. 

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

Individual project and the final exam. The final exam has two alternatives. 
The minimal number of points which can be obtained from the final exam is 25. Otherwise, no points will be assigned to a student.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme BIT Bachelor's, 2. year of study, summer semester, 5 credits, elective

  • Programme IT-BC-3 Bachelor's

    branch BIT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 5 credits, elective

Type of course unit



26 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer


  1. Introduction. Historical backgrounds of Apple in the context of other computer companies.
  2. Objective-C in the context of C/C++ and Smalltalk. Dynamic memory allocation, object referencing and garbage collecting.
  3. Introduction to Swift programming language. Basic libraries with collections and algorithms (Foundation).
  4. Model-View-Controller (MVC) paradigm for developing event-driven applications. Basic Controllers (Table, TabBar, Master-Detail).
  5. Development of user applications for mobile devices. Elements of User Interface (Cocoa Touch library).
  6. Programming of multithreaded applications. Concepts of threads management (GCD). Applications main control. Asynchronous calls. Modelling of multithreaded applications.
  7. Data encoding in applications. Creating structured documents. Synchronization of documents. Inter-application message passing (Key-Value Observing, KVO).
  8. The architecture of object data storage (CoreData). The synchronous connection of the database and application control via KVO.
  9. Multiuser applications with a central database (CloudKit). The asynchronous connection of the database and application control via GCD.
  10. Application lifecycle in the context of the operation system. User configurations. Runtime memory optimizations.
  11. Simulation kernel for games development (SpriteKit, SceneKit). Modelling of the physical environment and mechanics.
  12. Desktop applications architecture. Runtime interconnection of a mobile and desktop application.
  13. Applications development for tvOS and watchOS.

Fundamentals seminar

12 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


  1. Programming in Swift. Using XCode IDE.
  2. Foundation library in examples. Data collections and basic algorithms.
  3. Application for iOS. Implementing DataSource and Delegate objects.
  4. Multithreaded applications. Message passing within the application. Key-Value Observing. Documents.
  5. Application based on CoreData.
  6. Application based on CloudKit.


14 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


  1. Design and implementation of an application with given features.